Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/343

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be sure, she has that aristocracy which supersedes all others—that to which prince and peasant instinctively bow—and though unknown in the fashionable world, you would as soon confound the exquisite work of a Greek sculptor with the wax figures of an itinerant showman, as degrade her to the level of a conventional belle.

“Yet she does not open her house as a temple to worshippers of whom she is the divinity, but apparently simply to afford her acquaintances the hospitality of a place of social meeting. She retires behind her guests, and seems to desire to be the least observed of all observers.

“I had supposed that war might as well be carried on without its munitions, officers as well live without their salaries, children as well go to bed without their suppers, as a party to go off without its material entertainment. But here was the song without the supper, not even those poor shadows of refreshments, cakes and lemonade. Here was a young woman without ‘position’—to use the cant phrase—without any relations to the fashionable world, filling her rooms weekly with choice spirits, who came without any extraordinary expense of dress, who enjoyed high rational pleasures for two or three hours, and retired so early as to make no drafts on the health or spirits of the next day. I communicated my perplexity to a foreign acquaintance whom I met at Mrs. Booth’s.

“‘Why,’ said he, your fair friend has hit upon a favourite form of society common in the highest civilization. Miss Lynch’s soirees are Parisian—only not in Paris. Not in the world, with the exception of the United States, could a beautiful young woman take the responsibility unmatronized of such a ‘reception.’”


When it was announced, a few months since, that Fredrika Bremer had landed upon our shores, the intelligence was received by the thousands who have read her works, with an interest that admiration of literary talent or genius alone could never have inspired. More than almost any other writer, Miss Bremer seems to have become a personal friend to every reader, and the cause of this is to be found in a far deeper source than mere admiration for the novelty and vividness of her narratives, her quiet pictures of domestic life, or her strong delineations of the workings of human passion. Her large and sympathetic heart is attuned to such harmony with humanity, or rather she so expresses this beautiful harmony of her own soul with God, with nature, and with humanity, that the human heart that has suffered or enjoyed,